Between my new job and my new obsession, life has had no room for films in the past few weeks. What can possibly be so interesting that I have abandoned films? One word – CARS! Had someone told me even a month ago that I’d soon be interested in cars, I’d have thought they were crazy. Me? Actually thinking of cars as something more than a means to go from point A to point B? Ridiculous! But there is no denying it. I have caught the disease. From being a person who could only recognise one car – The VW Beatle – I’ve graduated to being a person who can now identify most major car makes (and some models, too) at a glance!
It all began when I made the decision to do my bit toward global warming by burning my fair share of fossil fuel. Why should the rest of the world carry my burden? Ergo, I must buy a car. But which car? I couldn’t pick a Lexus or a Honda or a… in a car park full of two cars! So how on earth do I decide which one to buy? “One does one’s research”, a wise friend pointed out. Aah yes! That is one thing I do know how to do. So I set out to do my research. But nobody warned me that a very serious side-effect of research on all things automative is car-o-mania. I’ve begun to actively notice cars in car-parks, on the road, on the internet, and yes, even in films! I clearly need professional help. While I get it, here’s a list of ten filmi cars that I wouldn’t mind receiving as a gift (Santa, I hope this is enough advance notice for you to get it right, this Christmas):
1. Remington Steele’s 1936 White Auburn – Can anybody be unmoved by the sight of this car? If I had to choose between my beloved Mr. Steele (Pierce Brosnan) and this car, I do believe I might settle for the car! Sorry Mr. Steele, you are handsome, dashing, and so very crush-worthy, but right now, I can’t see beyond your beautiful set of wheels.
2. James Bond’s Aston Martin DB 5 from Goldfinger (1964): One might well wonder why Sean Connery needed a car with so much sex-appeal. Isn’t he appealing enough without it? Never mind... We will stick to discussing cars. They do tend to age much better than their Bonds. Just sneak a peek at this silver, sullen-faced beauty, and tell me that it won’t take your mind off 007. Hmm… I wonder… was the car there just to charm people who were immune to Mr. Bond’s legendary (and, in my opinion, largely imaginary) charm?
3. The Saint’s 1962 Volvo P1800: Simon Templar (Roger Moore) is one class Robin Hood act, and nowhere is it more evident than in his choice of wheels. His car is classy, it’s beautiful, and it looks like it can talk to the wind and leave it behind! Mr. Templar, will you please remember that you are a modern-day Robin Hood and I am a very poor scientist who desperately wants a car? I don’t mind settling for your well-used Volvo. I’ll give it a very good home, I promise…
4. The customised Paragon Panther from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968): I’ve not seen the film, so I have no idea what feats of magic this car is capable of, but one look at it’s goofy exterior is enough for me. I want to have at least one ride in it. Sigh! I know… 'tis not possible, but one can dream a dream, surely?
5: Robert Talbot’s 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II from Come September (1961): Now your average woman would be more interested in the accessories (ladies, do observe the well-appointed Rock Hudson, placed just by the dashboard, for your viewing convenience), but I am made of sterner stuff. When it comes to resplendent Rolls-Royces, nothing, absolutely nothing, can distract my attention from this modern marvel of motor machinery.
While Hollywood (and their trans-Atlantic cousins) clearly take the lead in all things automotive, Bollywood does not lag behind. They do tend to favour convertibles over regular sedans and coupes, and white seems to be a very popular color, especially with the Kapoor drivers. Does that mean that there isn’t a lot of variety in drool-worthy wheels? A big NAHIIIN!
1. The 'Champion' from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) – A vintage car even when this film was made, this 1920s Ford model A is worth every ounce of tender-loving-care that the Ganguly brothers (Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar) lavish on it. It’s goofy, it’s cute, and look, it even does tricks!
2. The Porsche 911 Targa from Shaan (1980) – Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) fell in lust for this car, and for once, he has my full sympathy! It is certainly one very lust-worthy car. Too bad he does not get to keep it for long, but the lucky man does get to take it for a spin.
3. The cars in Waqt (1965) – There is a virtual cavalcade of beautiful cars in this film. From the pretty convertibles that Ravi (Sunil Dutt) and Raja (Raj Kumar) race in, the cute open-topped Standard that Renu (Sharmila Tagore) drives to school, to this looong Buick (look – it’s accessorised with my favourite kind of chauffeur too!), they are all so very glamorous. Help! I feel a wave of pure covetousness coming on!!!
4. Shammi Kapoor’s white 1948 Studebaker Commander from Kashmi Ki Kali: The two younger Kapoor brothers have a tendency to show off their driving skills in white open-topped cars. While I will admit to a slight preference for the pretty picture his baby brother makes against a white convertible, there is no denying that Shammi bags the better car. Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? And to think that I’ve watched this song dozens of times before – I’ve drooled over Rafi’s voice, OP Nayyar’s music, noticed Shammi’s antics, but NEVER paid the slightest attention the car! What was I thinking of?!
5. Vivek Oberoi’s VW Beatle in Gunji si hai saari fiza (Kyon Ho Gaya Na): The Volkswagen Beatle was my first car-love, for the very simple reason that it was the only car I could unerringly pick out in a crowd! Besides, it’s so cute in an ugly and utterly frivolous way, that it is well-nigh irresistible. And looks like Aishwarya cannot resist it’s pull, either. She is actually dreaming that she is in love, and that her boy friend owns this cute little number (umm… was that Vivek’s attraction, Aish?).
The internet tells me that I am neither the first nor the most car-obsessed of movie fans! Here are people who’re light years ahead of me: